The city of Heidelberg
Auf der Neckarwiese
As the home of Germany's oldest university and the spot with the country's warmest climate, Heidelberg is a magnet for students and is a very popular tourist destination. It has a population of about 150,000 and is situated in an idyllic spot on the banks of the Neckar River. Overlooking the city and affording spectacular views of the historic town center and the surrounding countryside is the landmark Heidelberg Castle on the northern slope of the Königsstuhl.
Heidelberg is one of the most famous university cities and, with colleges for church music and for Jewish studies, it is also home to two highly specialized institutes for higher learning. The Ruprecht-Karls-Universität was founded in 1386 and is highly respected in particular for its medical school. Under the German Excellence Initiative, it has been designated an elite university. It has about 30,000 students and is home to Germany's oldest university library. The university's outstanding reputation attracts both students and researchers from all over the world. Together with the university hospital it is the city's biggest employer. The numerous research facilities are dedicated above all to medical biotechnology. The German Cancer Research Center is among the leading institutions in its field worldwide. The economy of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan area, which includes the neighboring cities of Mannheim and Ludwigshafen as well as Heidelberg, is shaped by such major companies as Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, the global market leader for printing machinery, the software house SAP and BASF, the world's largest chemical producer.